Are Your Customers Satisfied?
By Diane Krakora
At the core of every repeat sale or product upgrade is a satisfied customer – the ultimate driver of most successful business ventures. Satisfied customers turn into loyal customers who buy more software and services and recommend and promote your offerings to other prospects. Conversely, businesses whose software products and post-sales service continually fall short of meeting customer needs – and repeatedly register low customer satisfaction – will eventually go out of business. In addition to providing a high quality product or service, one of the most strategic ways to increase end-customer satisfaction is to develop and leverage effective channel and alliance partnerships to deliver high quality service both during and after the initial sale.
It is widely understood that indirect channels can increase a company's sales and reduce service costs, if harvested and managed well. But not as prevalent is the understanding that the way a company supports its indirect channels can also dramatically impact end-customer satisfaction. In order to increase customer satisfaction through strategic use of channels and alliances, organizations must focus on making it easy for these external partners – such as system integrators, solution providers, resellers, developers, consultants and software and hardware alliances – to build, market, sell and support products and solutions. The skills, professionalism and knowledge of your channel partners can directly impact your customers' experience and ultimately, their satisfaction with your products and services.
For example, when we re-designed our backyard, we purchased a fountain from a local retail outlet. We visited the store and looked at various models and options from different manufacturers. After deciding on a granite piece, we arranged for delivery with the retailer. Three days later, the 700-pound granite fountain was sitting in our driveway. This was definitely not the service we expected for our delivery fee. After trying to install the fountain ourselves, we realized we needed a plastic tub, some tubing and a pump! We were very frustrated – not only with the retail outlet, but also with our new fountain. The manufacturer was relying on its retail partner to sell us a complete solution that included all the parts and services we needed to make our fountain usable. Instead, we ended up dissatisfied with the whole experience and would not recommend either the retailer or the manufacturer to our friends. In our mind, the
About the Author
Diane Krakora is President & CEO of Amazon Consulting, consulting firm based in Silicon Valley, dedicated to helping high tech clients increase profitability by effectively developing and leveraging partners. For more information on Amazon Consulting, please visit http://www.amazonconsulting.com.
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